What’s in the cards?

Measuring Thickness on Pasta Machines

You can help create a Standard Thickness Guide for the polymer community by reading the measuring instructions and filling out an easy survey form by March 31, 2012.  All participants will be entered in a drawing for two prizes.

Let’s do it

Don’t you think it’s time we establish a standard way to refer to the thickness of sheets of clay? A few months ago Sage published an article in The Polymer Arts magazine that suggested a playing card method. Then independently on her blog Maggie proposed a metric stacking method that makes it easier to get metric measurements by stacking sheets to be measured by a ruler. Both methods generated many comments. The common theme was “let’s do it!”

Two methods

Developing a standard is not an easy task. We aren’t working with precision tools or a precision material. Thicknesses produced on pasta machines aren’t consistent even between the same models.  Polymer itself can increase in thickness after being rolled, bouncing back a small percentage when left to rest.

However, we’ve found in the variety of machines we tested that they can all produce sheet thicknesses that measure between 1 mm to 2.5 mm.  We’d like to recommend that teachers and writers keep references to sheet thickness in this common range. That way students and readers will be able to duplicate their instructions on whatever pasta machine they own.

Measuring sheet thickness in mm is fairly precise, but requires access to calipers or time to go through Maggie’s stacking method.  Knowing there isn’t usually time and rarely a caliper in a classroom, we tested the fast and easy playing card system and found the common range to be 3-8 cards.

To confirm our findings, we would love to get results from polymer artists from all over the world. You can help us finalize a Standard Thickness Guide by taking a few minutes to measure your machine and fill out an online poll.

As a thank you to those who pitch in, we will put you in a drawing for one of two items–A $20 gift certificate towards copies or a subscription to The Polymer Arts magazine or a copy of Maggie and Lindly Haunani’s book Color Inspirations.

PCDaily will publish the results of the poll and share the final version of our Pasta Machine Thickness Guide in an upcoming guest post. Thank you for helping.

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